Are there hubbers out there whose content is solid, but who struggle with the mechanics of written English? This may be because English is not their native tongue, or simply because English is a language of exceptions rather than rules? If so, are there hubbers out there who might actually be interested in assisting these writers with their hubs rather than continually bashing the 'quality' of the work?
I'm interested to see if there is any consensus that can be reached on this issue.
Hi Motown2, Greensleeves Hubs started a forum post on the same topic recently and took some major flack for it. You are brave. Nice to see that. http://hubpages.com//forum/topic/109913
Yup, that's me! Brave as all get out. And desperate to create a sense of helpful, kind, and caring community.
You know, snakeslane, I personally don't have the ability to translate to English. I speak only one language. I do, however, have a decent ability to proofread and edit what's written in awkward English and make it comfortably readable. I think the main thing I'm seeing so far (from the thread that GH started and mine) is that there are a lot of folks who seem to feel that we're suggesting they make a full-time job of helping other hubbers to succeed. There is a sense of competition rather than community. First, many of us who are native English speakers/writers aren't here to make millions. We're here to express ourselves in this unique forum. That, I believe, is the case for many hubbers for whom English is a second language.
The idea that these hubs are greedy and trying to 'steal' money away from native English speaking hubbers is sort of silly. I'm not talking about taking an obviously spun or poorly translated hub and fixing it up so it can be a huge earner. I'm talking about taking a hub filled with solid content which may be awkwardly put together by someone whose first language is not English and helping them tweak it to make it more readable and attractive.
I'm pretty sure that I do not write the BEST hubs or have 100% perfect English. With that being said, I feel confident in my abilities as a writer and I am more than happy to help any hubber that needs it.
I happen to be a retired Language Arts teacher and must tell you that while what you're asking is noble, it's an almost impossible task. I don't feel it is HP writers' responsibility to teach language skills to others. If they want to write,they need to take some classes and learn the appropriate skills on their own before they attempt to join a professional writers' venue like this one and ruin the income potential here for everybody who has already gained the skills they need. This may sound heartless, but it is realistic. I didn't join this hub to teach, I joined it to write!
Which makes complete sense to me. I wouldn't expect it from everyone on the site. Just from the few who might be interested in helping some folks get a stronger foothold by helping them improve their writing skills. My hope is that it would keep those who continually insult and belittle people from doing so - especially since some of them might actually be decent writers with a little help.
I'm neither suggesting nor implying that anyone should feel compelled to offer their 'services' to the community if they are not interested in doing so. I'm sorry if that's how it came across.
No apologies are necessary. Your suggestion clearly is kindhearted and based on good intentions, but unless you truly understand how difficult it is to clear up language skills gaps, you cannot realize just how hard it would be to give someone the help they need. I do not think anybody should be belittled for lacking good writing skills, but I do think those who do have no business trying to write on a site like this one. If I join the ice capades and don't skate well, I can easily ruin the show for the other performers. The same idea applies here. HP is having problems keeping its numbers up, and poorly skilled writers are one of the reasons for this. Some people here write for a living, and it is unfair to them to allow poor writers or those with poor language skills to damage their potential income. Responsible people pay their dues before expecting to be employed on skill specific jobs. People who come to HP without the knowledge they need to write well are not ready or able to do a good job. Offering to help them will not improve the situation. It will only make these people think it's OK for them to come aboard unprepared. It takes many years to learn proper language skills, and this is why a little help here and there won't work.
Totally in agreement.
I'll just add that if someone wants my help with English writing skills on HP, they can email me and we can work out a contract.
At the same time, there are wonderful second-language writers of English here who publish outstanding hubs in terms of content and depth and conformance to HP rules, but not so outstanding works of written English when it comes to mechanics. When I see one of these gems that I have a passion for, I privately email the author and suggest a mechanical "correction." The author can choose to implement it or not. I'll do this for native English writers as well.
A while ago (maybe a long while ago) I seem to remember that HP had an interest in promoting/sponsoring an editorial effort made up of members who would help other members with just these issues. Maybe someone else remembers the details of what this effort might have been. For sure, it never got off the ground.
I see your point. The only problem with the Ice Capades illustration is this: you'd have to audition to be a part of the show. HP doesn't require any such audition. And as an open platform, many writers feel comfortable coming here to work on improving their skills. The issue, though, is that aside from reading excellent hubs with lessons and tips, they get little interactive assistance from other hubbers.
I can see what you're saying, certainly, and perhaps these are the very reasons that past efforts haven't come to fruition, as Sally mentioned.
Motown2Chitown: And that is exactly what HP is trying to these days by trying to qualify hubs before allowing them to go viral. I also agree with Sally and Melissa that there is no harm in trying to help with minor corrections, but that only works if authors want that kind of help. Some would be insulted and become angry!
Well, that's the kind of help I'm talking about. And, I put it in a forum because that makes it known that the offer's out there. If someone wants help, they can ask. If not, they can carry on as is.
Ultimately, though, if HP does not want ESL hubs or hubbers because they don't feel they're of sufficient quality, they need to make that very clear. They haven't before, in my opinion.
It depends on how bad the deficit is. I've seen hubs that sounded horrible but the problem was something as simple as article usage. That's a 10 minute fix... and a common problem...Actually the most common problem to be honest.
Think about it, when you have read a badly composed hub, what was the problem? An entire hub that simply lacks articles or misuses them can take grammar/mechanics from a 7 or 8 to a 3 or 4. Some of the content in those hubs is actually pretty good too... it's just that one little flaw that makes it almost unreadable.
Edit: Hmm... Maybe a "most common mistakes by ESL writers" hub?
Hi Motown2Chitown; snakeslane directed me to your forum post, and I must say I sympathise and agree with your point of view. Like you I've come to appreciate that this is a sensitive issue, because some see the idea as taking away from the work of professional translators, but I think you are not suggesting anything quite so grand. It is the case that many writers are trying hard and trying sincerely to get a foothold in writing or else they may just have specialist knowledge and information they want to impart to an English speaking audience. Given the low income most of us receive from writing hubs, it simply isn't feasible for most of these writers to employ translators, but perhaps if the facility exists for good spirited hubbers to give pointers in the right direction then maybe some would benefit.
I appreciate it may be difficult to help such writers as much as we would like and I very much understand Timetraveller's concerns about maintaining quality on HubPages. I guess I feel it can be the most rewarding of feelings to help people who perhaps don't have the opportunity in their own language to write web pages such as these.
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